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Red's Army

Your Morning Dump… This is where the plastic people melt

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) December 31, 2012 Celtics News, The Morning Dump 57 Comments

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

“These are dog days. This is when you really see who’s with you right now. You know, ain’t nobody cheering. Ain’t no lights on us right now. And I love this right here, because this is when all the plastic people melt. So we’ve all got to look at ourselves in the mirror, including myself, and try to figure out what I can do better to help this team.”

Herald:  Celtics lose their way out west

There’s nothing Kevin Garnett loves more than a good test of manhood.  That’s because KG has been around long enough to be tested in some of the worst ways.  He played for the Timberwolves, for Christ’s sake… if any NBA player gets the constant tests and struggles of the NBA, it’s KG.

So here the Celtics sit.  Two games under .500 and looking like a lost, broken team.  And what’s Kevin Garnett doing? Glowering around the room, with his eyes peering just under the slope of his brow, looking to see who is willing to keep fighting with him in the trenches…. looking to see who has the balls to do what’s necessary to pull this thing together.

And what happens when he spots someone who isn’t willing?  Well… let’s just say someone’s gotta wave the towels from the end of the bench.

I get accused of being overly optimistic around here, but here’s what I see with this team.

Rajon Rondo is getting torched off the dribble.  He’s just become terrible guarding the ball.  That means opposing point guards live in the lane.  They set up a barbecue, invite friends over, crack a few brews, and have a grand ol’ party.  When the bigs come over to break up that party, someone comes in the back door and robs them.

The Celtics rotations have been horrible, too.  Once upon a time, when the Celtics closed out on guys, they kept the guy in front of them.  Now, they’re getting smoked too.  So when teams move the ball around, C’s defenders are running at guys so hard, they get beat off the dribble too.   Which puts even MORE pressure on the bigs, which means even more guys score in the paint.

And the bigs haven’t exactly held their own, either.  They’re over-compensating, a lot, and leaving large gaps in the defense.

Why is all this happening?  You’ll have to ask Rondo why he’s let his on-ball defense slip so much.  He could be hurt (have you seen how much he’s wrapped up sometimes?)… he could be saving himself for the offensive end… who knows.

The second part?  That’s bad execution.  That’s a lack of control.  When you’re putting yourself in such bad position that you have to sprint out to a guy out of control, you’re opening yourself up to fakes and blow-bys.  Maybe the bad execution is due to guys being down about their offense (which Doc has hinted at)… maybe some of these guys are just bad defenders who can’t execute the plan.

And as for the bigs… maybe they’re too focused on helping the guards to do their own jobs sometimes.

Those are all big problems defensively.  But my reason for optimism, or a least a lack of panic, is that these are correctable.  It starts with Bradley returning Wednesday, taking the on-ball defending job away from Rondo, and maybe helping the rest of those guys focus on their defensive jobs more.  From there, guys like Brandon Bass and Courtney Lee need to just wake their asses up and play basketball.

Some of you guys can scream for trades and a new coach (which blows my mind, but it’s happening).  I’m not ready to bury this team like some people are.  I’m also not delusional about where we stand.  They’re not good right now.  But we’ve seen them be good.  And they have good players who are not playing well.

I’ll throw this at you guys again.   The Celtics are just 3 games out of the 4th seed and home court in the first round of the playoffs.  If you choose to panic when the ball in Times Square hasn’t dropped yet, and the C’s are still that close to the top half of the seeding… that’s on you, plastic people.

I feel the heat too, but it’s not time to melt…. yet.

Related links:  CSNNE: Garnett:  “‘This is where all the plastic people melt’

The rest of the links:

CSNNE:  Cousins shows C’s what hype is about  |  Defense flops in Sacramento  |  ESPN Boston:  Where’s the defense?  |  Doc:  We were bad the whole trip  |  Globe:  Bradley waits for his return  |  Celtics clobbered again  |  Herald:  Rondo returns, but struggles 

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  • Joseph

    Thanks for clearing my head, making last night seem better. I still think that moves must be made to acquire a big man, and to get rid of some underperforming role players (Lee, Bass, Barbosa). I don’t think that these would net any great players in return, but my fantasy is Gortat and Telfair.

    • LAF

      Screw Gortat. We are going after Cousins. And watching him play last night it was pretty clear he was auditioning for us. His plays screamed, “Get me, Boston! GET ME!”

      • Brick James

        Did it really? Because I saw him constantly walking up the floor and not playing defense. If that’s his audition, I’ll pass.

  • eddysamson

    Any reason why they picked up Varnado only to never use him? I mean surely he could have had SOME use against at least the Kings with his blocking skills. I’d rather have him out there than Collins, I know they are different positions but without Collins they really have two PFs out there anyways…

    Only reason I can see for Varnado’s signing was that some PFs are probably headed out the door for a trade soon.

    • Grandad434

      Well, Varnado was a nice call up, but he’s oblivious to Doc’s system that is obviously really tough to crack. Players like T-Murph and Sasha couldn’t figure it out and it looks like Lee, JET, Green, Wilcox and Bass are still struggling to figure it out. It does all boil down to an offensive minded bench added to a defensive minded team though and that plus and minus causes a minus/minus with aging stars in KG and PP. They are still very capable and explosive, but they can’t play all 4 quarters non-stop. There has to be help and adding all these offensive players was a huge mistake.

      • Jester00

        what were you watching Sasha played well (as he could) and was a team player. he gave 100% ever night even after 4 DNP’s T-murph good call though.

        • Grandad434

          T-Murph even said that Doc’s system was way too hard to understand and he was constantly frustrated with it.

          • Jester00

            I agree t-Murhp was awful and didn’t work hard and was dumb

          • Grandad434

            HAHAHA! Poor fella. When you can’t even make it on a shite Dallas team, you know you suck.

      • eddysamson

        I think Green’s problem is just that he needs to be a starter, its what hes used to. I almost hope PP gets a minor injury/sickness or something and misses a game just to see how JG plays as a starter.

        Bass I am not sure because we did great with him at the end of last season, he must understand it. I think hes disheartened because hes expected to be traded or something.

        Anyways, I still want to see Varnado outside of garbage time. With how bad the last 3 games went you might as well try something different…

        • Grandad434

          Totally agree!

    • http://www.redsarmy.com KWAPT

      Doc is big on guys “knowing their stuff”. So to reiterate what Grandad434 said, we probably will only see him during garbage time for now.

      • eddysamson

        But thats exactly my point. WHY sign him? They signed him seemingly as a reaction to Wilcox being out. Wilcox will probably be back in 2.5~ weeks or so. So what is Varnado going to spend almost all of that time “learning the system” only to play MAYBE 1 game before Wilcox is back, then he comes back and we dont need Varnado any more.

        I’m just saying when you go on an atrocious 3 game losing streak losing by 18 points a game MAYBE its time to throw some different shit out there. You know the definition of insanity…trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

        • http://redsarmy.com John – Red’s Army

          You sign him for the same reason you buy car insurance. You don’t plan on getting into a wreck, but in case you do, it’s there. He’s the last man on the bench… if you could put him behind a “break glass in case of emergency” box to make it clearer, I’m sure they would.

          • eddysamson

            So what exactly do you consider an emergency? Because thats pretty damn close to what I’m seeing.

        • MJBarbosa

          Hahahaha far cry 3

      • Grandad434

        Spot on

        • Grandad434

          This kid is defense. And that’s what the C’s need right now. They have most likely been watching him being all hungry in the D-League for awhile and finally dropped the hook to snag him. If it works out, he will see more than garbage time. The kid’s going to help no matter what. We had all written AB off collectively and look how he turned out. This team needs defense and if Flying V can bring the noise I’m all for it. Not like it’s breaking Boston’s bank to take a chance on him.

  • Vandal T.

    It’s a tough stretch for sure. Getting back home is a good opportunity to set things right. Gonna be another tough stretch- Grizzlies, Hakws, Pacers. You can forget getting Gortat or Varajeo or Cousins. Celtics don’t have the pieces to put anything together for those players unless Ainge blows up the team. I don’t get why Fab Melo can’t just come up from D League he would be better than the foul machine known as Jason Collins. I hope expectations are realistic for Avery’s return but I do think he will help and maybe string together some wins, change the culture and mindset of locker room.

    • LAF

      Doc probably doesn’t trust Fab so he’s probably very reluctant to throw both Melo & Sully out there. Besides, we have Brandon fuckin’ Badd so we don’t need no bigs on this team! /sarc

  • Kay in Atlanta

    Oh man! This article certainly makes a good start of last day in 2012!!!

    Dang! We are all frustrated about the lost! Can’t lose hope yet!!! They are the Celtics! They will figure out a way!!

    KG still hold his head high!! Why can’t we?! He would have more frustration than us since his teammate didn’t perform as well as him!!

    2013 is going to be a great year for Celtics!!! Cheers!!

  • Shawna

    1. Is there a better sound bite guy in the NBA than Kevin Garnett? No. There isn’t.

    2. “This is when all the plastic people melt.” should probably be RedsArmy’s next t-shirt.

    3. Thank you for making me feel a little better this morning.

    (Side note: You write really well. REALLY well.)

    • http://redsarmy.com John – Red’s Army

      thank you very much

  • Gil305

    Everything you said about their defensive faults are on point 100%, nobody could’ve said it better. I’ve been noticing Rondo’s matador impersonation this season and I hear too many people still praising his defense.

    I’m still saying they should pick up Kenyon. If you had him KG and Bradley on the floor at the same time it wouldn’t matter much who the other two are defensively…..IMO. Want rebounds, Martin & Sully. I just think beside KG and Sully, everyone’s intensity and focus is being questioned. At least with Kenyon you know he’s gonna give everything on the floor he can give.

    I also saw this today http://youtu.be/hECMJ5uljUI
    Makes you scratch your head and ask what happened. We miss “Peaches” and Steam SMH

    • eddysamson

      Well AB single-handedly does almost as well with his full-court press. We will get SOME of that back on Wednesday. Maybe if Rondo or Green or someone else joined AB with the press we could see this kind of play again.

      • Gil305

        …yeah, possibly

  • JBcelticsFan

    I say the Celtics just bring up Fab Melo. Looking at his highlights from the D-league he plays with a lot of energy and is very explosive(reminds me of Tyson Chandler). Hes a legit 7-footer, a good shot blocker and looks much more comfortable than he did during the summer league/pre-season. He can’t be much worse than Stiesma and his energy would be great for this team. Celtics look dead out there, but I’m sure AB will have something to say about that as well.

    • LAF

      YES! YES! YESSS!!!

      but…

      no, no, no. doc will never play melo over bass.

  • DD

    This is the best dump you’ve had yet………errrr…….you know what I mean.

  • Matt W

    Really makes you wish Darko had worked out.

    • LAF

      Darko should have worked out. But Doc blew it with his small ball obsession.

      • Brick James

        Get a clue. The guy’s mother is dying.

  • http://www.redsarmy.com KWAPT

    Great work John. I particularly agree with your point on Rondo’s at times atrocious defense. I’m so tired of him letting mediocre PG after mediocre PG torch him/us for 20+ points. I know that’s just the way it’s going to be, but how much more of that will Doc take?

    • LAF

      I’m more curious whether KG has “talked”to him about it.

  • http://mrcuret.wordpress.com mrcuret

    I keep saying they should’ve signed Kenyon Martin instead of the D league kid. I believe K mart would’ve help more, he’s a pretty good defender & plays with toughness, something this team’s lacking, besides, Wilcox is out & the new kid isn’t getting playing time. I don’t get why Ainge signed that dude.

  • paul

    Rondo has his own way of playing D, and in the right team context, it can be very, very effective. Most of you folks STILL defend Ainge trading away the defensive heart of our team. Our D is built around having a strong interior. The Cs are trying to make up for that with timing, but it’s been tough. It’s worth noting, though, that we have not necessarily had more success in games where Rondo focused on shutting down his opposite number. I think the change that needs to be made is with Rondo’s substitution pattern. I think he needs more frequent but shorter rests, so that he can be more consistently aggressive on both ends, but Doc seems stuck in a rut. He won’t try anything new that’s reasonable. He only tries crazy player combinations. That’s as creative as he seems to be able to be. Also, let’s not forget that just as strong D helps the offense, strong O helps the defense. This team is built to be strong on offense, but it’s not happening because Doc is trying to jam the system built for Ray Allen down everyone’s throat. Why can’t Doc open up his mind a little? This is a new team. So far he is the one refusing to adapt.

    • LAF

      WTF? The system built for Ray Allen???

      LOLOL

      Um, okay. And Rondo is a beast!

  • paul

    Oh, and a lot of you excoriated Rondo for his assist streak. Are you freaking happy now?

  • Derek

    Does anybody agree with my thoughts on this?

    We saw a different Jeff Green last night, he had a scowl, he was emotional, active, and attacking. and while I LOVE Doc, I’m dissapointed in his coaching of Jeff green, he sat most of the second quarter and seemed to be taken out while he was rolling (mostly down low)

    players who have that scowl, that drive, should be rewarded, he should have played 40 minutes in this game, and he didn’t look fatigued.

    • eddysamson

      And he kinda stunk after being benched =/ he lost it his touch

      • Derek

        Exactly. he’s young, let him roll. he stayed aggressive throughout the game though. it was great to see. Sullinger has surprised me, love him for this team.

  • Quest

    Rajon has been hanging his hat on assists and we have been giving accolades for it but Michael Jordan is right as pt guard you also need to be scoring…..and celtics need anything and everything to end this drought. The leader of this team is not Rondo it’s KevinGarnett. He’s the one that picks up this team when it’s down.

  • Quest

    BTW great article Thanks …this is the first blog I always read

  • http://www.greenheadzblog.blogspot.com ChiefGreenHeadz

    John…you said it all right there. Everything we’re seeing is correctable and it starts with people calming down and just playing basketball. We have enough on this team that if there are a few who aren’t getting it, we can sit them until they do. Bradley will work wonders for the perimeter. The other thing folks are missing is that the Celtics have yet to set a consistent lineup and that’s screwing everyone else up – Bass, who was brought in as a backup but became a starter who is now a backup again, Lee and Terry who were both supposed to bolster the bench not move in and out of the starting lineup – this team is in no way ready to be judged as final. And I love the fact that you bring up seeding. All of this crying and we’re not even out of the top four. R-E-L-A-X people. Let’s see what develops after Bradley and Wilcox get back.

  • http://mrcuret.wordpress.com mrcuret

    Somebody’s getting traded, I don’t know who’ll that be but Ainge is gonna make a move, he has never been afraid of making trades & this yr won’t be any different, especially with the way they’ve been playing this season. Hopefully that will open the rest of team’s eyes.

  • Double P

    It’s hard to pin this season on any one person. It’s been a systematic failure on all fronts. We aren’t scoring, aren’t defending, aren’t rebounding. Docs lineups and substitution package have been a mess. It’s worth noting that the core and leadership dynamic has shifted this season, a lot of new faces in the locker room who have been told to look to rondo for leadership.. no ray to set the tone or veteran big 3. This team is looking to rondo to lead them and hes just lacking so much in that category. Why should Jeff green, lee, terry, bass, sully feel pressure about their defensive effort when Rondo gives no effort?

  • Double P

    I know rondo and Doc are sacred cows but they do deserve.some heat. Rondo lacks the maturity to lead and Doc should have recognized that before declaring Jim the chief

  • RedsLoveChild

    “The Celtics are 3 games out of the 4th seed…”

    True, but here`s another reality : The Celtics are 1/2 game ahead of Philadelphia for the 8th and final playoff seed…where, in the unlikely event they are “lucky” enough to hold off the Bynum-less 76`ers, the Miami Heat are waiting for them in the first round with their brooms!

  • Celtic Geezer

    Well, you FINALLY said it all here but it’s amazing to me that you guys just noticed that Rondo plays terrible defense. I’ve been commenting on this site for the last 3 years about his unbalanced, upright defense and all I heard were criticisms. This didn’t start this year. He saves his defense for the playoffs and guarding Lebron. Otherwise, he is always off the ball trolling for steals. He gets peeled off on every pick because he is behind the play. And the last two years, he has been getting torched straight up, at the top of the key. It’s not any injury (although that might be making it even worse). It has been happening for at least 3 years. He doesn’t TRY to play defense in the regular season and then steps up to barely decent for the playoffs. I guess now, when the inside players are not erasing 2/3 of his getting beaten off the dribble, everyone has finally noticed what I have commented on for years. I wish I felt vindicated but this team needs a defensive coordinator again. Losing Thibodough and Franks in the last 5 years has left Doc with no clue as to how to fix this. They have to stop trapping pointlessly. Everyone has to play their man in their face all the time. The guards and small forwards have to play like Avery and the big man have to go back and look at some Russell and Cowens videos and try to absorb the vibe. This is not rocket science. It’s just plain hard work. Primadonnas step aside. You play real defense or you lose. It always has been that way and it always will. Rondo, on the other hand, for the most part, is just a pretender on defense. All steals and no substance. It’s time to step up.

  • Celticsfanatic

    I understand the ridiculousness of people saying we need to fire Doc and Ainge and trade everyone to get the next Michael Jordan, but to say fans aren’t tough enough when they suggest a big guy like DeMarcus Cousins is needed is a little over-loyal to me. Not only will Cousins paired with the return of Bradley make us a contender, it will be a huge step towards the future as well. Rondo is not Carmelo Anthony or Dirk, meaning he isn’t the type of player that can take a team to the championship being a superstar surrounded by a bunch of really good role players or even quasi stars (Sullinger, Bradley). We need a guy who we can go to over and over again on offense, and Cousins is at least a VERY good start. People always act like we don’t have success with headcases but last I checked, Stephon Marbury did what he was asked to do when KG was out for the rest of the year, we went to the Finals with Rasheed Wallace, Nate Robinson, and Glen Davis, and the only reason we didn’t go further with the 2010 team was because of injuries, not because of a mental distraction. KG can repeat all he wants how the 2010 team wasn’t focused enough on basketball and that may be valid, but the fact remains that it was primarily injuries that cheated us out of a fair shot. Hell, even last year’s team had an emotionally abused Keyon Dooling, and that team was remarkably tough. Most of all, our most important player is also one of the biggest headcases in the game and no one ever talks about that (Rondo). Our locker room is perhaps our biggest asset in the league and I see no reason why Cousins can’t be another success story.

    Any combination of Lee, Bass, Green (have to think we could get a SF replacement if we dealt him), maybe Melo, and a first rounder to get a player close to the caliber of Cousins. Those guys are drastically underperforming anyway, except for Melo and it’s not like we expect him to turn us into contenders anytime soon anyway. If we’re looking for a star big man in return, it really makes no sense to hold off from dealing Melo when he plays the exact same position.

    Get it done.

  • GreenCro
  • Mike C

    I agree with the point of the article, that we have to support our team when they’re down as much as when they’re up. However, we cant hide our heads in the sand and pretend nothings broken, and expect a magical turn around in the 2nd half of the season. We’ve all got ideas of what they might try next, no one knows for sure. I DO KNOW, that if the fans and the players start getting comfortable with .500 win/loss records, then that is exactly what we’ll become…another middle of the pack, mediocre NBA team. That is NOT the BOSTON CELTICS.

  • sev

    So many new/healthy players thrown into the mix to expect everything to run smoothly this early in the season, even though I was hoping they would gel quicker. Prob is many of these players are more than just your average role player, which is why we were considered a team that could easily play ten deep, but that creates a problem when there’s not enough minutes to go around. I feel like we have too many players that need AT LEASTt 25 to 28 min to get in a groove(Green, Terry, Lee, Bass), partly because their games are geared more towards scoring(as you alluded to-“Offensive Minded”) Hopefully things will start to gel because the reg season is where it is especially beneficial to have a deep bench, because once playoff time comes around, Pierce/KG/Rondo will all be playing heavy min. We have no excuse to not be a top defensive team now that we have young, athletic legs that should be pressuring the ball non stop knowing full well that they have 5/6 capable reserves to continue the hard nosed defense(obviously bradley will help quite a bit). Lastly, I think because there’s not enough min to go around, that we need to swing the ball roughly 50% of the time letting everybody just get involved, making passes and finding the flow(don’t overlook how much that can help). The other half of the time up the court we could have Rondo do his thing, which would make us less predictable and allow Rondo to conserve energy for defense, as well as letting everybody get involved as much as possible in their reduced min.

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